WILMINGTON — Approximately 70 people took part in a “Witness for Justice” anti-racism event Friday evening in downtown Wilmington.
Participants divided up into smaller groups and took positions at a number of downtown street corners where they knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silent prayer. Eight minutes and 46 seconds is the length of time associated with the death of George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody after a police officer knelt on his neck during a May 25 arrest in Minneapolis.
Floyd’s death spurred nationwide and international protests against police violence toward black people.
Though the event in Wilmington was an initiative of the Ohio River District of the United Methodist Church, many of the participants were not Methodists.
As the event began, John Lundblad of Wilmington told the crowd the activity was “a witness, and not a protest.” He added it also was not an indictment of the Wilmington Police Department.
Lundblad delivered spoken word poetry when he recited the words of the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, sometimes called the black national anthem.
Fr. Elaine Silverstrim, a retired Episcopal priest, also spoke at the Wilmington event, and echoed the content of the song title by saying it is “time to join voices.”
She urged citizens to become a “No-More Generation.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.